Sunday, March 1, 2015

TSS: Book Impressions

Last week I read a Salon post that resonated with me.

On her WellWell2 blog, Barbara discussed book reviews:  what is included and what is not.  I won't attempt to repeat what she so eloquently wrote, but I encourage you to visit the post if you have not already.

What caught my attention, however, is that Barbara no longer claims to write book reviews but rather... Reading Reactions.  She distinguishes the two by audience:  she now writes primarily for herself rather than avid readers in search of their next book.  She writes more about how the book makes her think and feel, and writes less about literary analysis. Of course, avid readers will enjoy and benefit from such a post, but that is a secondary bonus.

When I recently returned to the book blogging community, I struggled with the concept of writing "real" book reviews versus personal opinions.  I do not want to stress over writing these posts, but rather, I simply want to share my reading experience with like-minded people.  I have since developed what I hope will be a manageable system for book reviews.

But I love Barbara's idea of a Reading Reaction.  I did not want to steal her concept, but I did want to personalize it.  In the end, I have decided to call my entries, Book Impressions.

I have a love affair with French Impressionism, and in my spare time dabble in writing a novel about that time period.  These paintings are not exact replicas but rather impressions (expressions) of the subject matter.  That is the concept I would like to bring here in documenting my reading life.

So thank you, Barbara, for liberating me from the "right" way to review and helping me to find freedom in writing what I feel.

Hopefully I will begin posting these Impressions soon (I have read about sixteen books so far this year), but in the meantime, I keep track of them in my reading notebook (which, by the way, I adore all the Compendium notebooks and journals).

What I have read this week:

While I still have a few books on my reading pile, namely Harriet the Spy and The Right Word (written by my college roommate!!), I will probably be spending most of my free time preparing for the upcoming trip to Europe.

I do plan to take my Kindle with me, however, and I know that we will have quite a bit of down time, especially on the night train between Paris and Milan.  I am looking for ebook suggestions to download for that trip, if you have any. 

I wish you all a great first-week-of-March.  I am still in denial that two months have passed so far this year...


  1. I look forward to your Book Impressions!

  2. Good for you. You can call them reactions too if you like though impressions is a nice soft word and may fit as well. I think we just need to find easier ways to do some of these things. I'm still struggling. I have a very hard time writing short. Long gets in my way. I'm looking for new approaches. I liked Bryan's Truth list last week for example.
    I will be interested in your review of French Women Don't Get Fat. (I am a briefly mentioned character in that book).

  3. Barbara - it is very easy for me to become entangled in long as well; brevity is not my strong suit.

    You are a mentioned character in French Women?! How wonderful... I feel I need to re-read and discover where you shine :)

  4. I like the title Book Impressions and I like your idea for book reviews, keeping it simple. However, I would caution you that don't think you have to get to the reviews for all the books. Highlight the ones you want and then give impressions on others. At least, that's my thought on that. Otherwise, you'll have a backlist and then feel like you'll never get to them.

  5. Good for you, Molly. Your impressions, exactly - your thoughts about your reading. I know my first blogging round had me becoming more anxious about "how" I reviewed books, especially after reading what others wrote. This time, well, I'm just saying what I think. And relating it to my own life perhaps. I think I started out that way, but you know how it is when you compare your writings to others.

    As to your trip, when you mentioned a train and Europe, my mind turned to MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Christie. You've likely read that one, but it was the first book that popped into my head. ;-)

  6. Sage advice, Bryan - and appropriate to mention to this type A perfectionist :)

  7. Kay - I know exactly how it is to compare my writing to others (and NEVER results in anything positive)!

    Believe it or not... I have never read Murder on the Orient Express. FANTASTIC recommendation!! Thanks you :)

  8. Way back in 2007 when I first started "book blogging" I struggled with the whole idea of reviewing books. I really didn't want to analyze what I read, I just wanted to share my feelings about what I was reading, as if I were sitting down with a friend and talking over coffee. So that's what I did. Although I don't have a dedicated book blog any more, I do write my reflections on the reading life in the Sunday Salon posts on my blog. I really enjoy reading othe reactions or impressions of their reading, and I'm looking forward to yours.

    I think you and Barbara have exactly the right idea.

  9. I love the idea of keeping things simple and down to noting your impressions from a book, or more of your personal opinion. I feel like I move around a lot, between writing true "reviews" and more like my personal reaction to books, depending on what kind of mood I'm in.

  10. I loved Still Life with Bread Crumbs!

    I'm definitely for writing about books in whatever way suits you at the moment. :)

  11. Ah Deb... just saw this comment (about two weeks late). Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement. I am slowly working my way back to a regular blogging routine :)


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